Depending on where you are, the gyms might be closed due to heavy snowfall, the weather might be too bad for your usual run, or sometimes the food you're "scheduled" to eat is no longer available. What's worse is the sudden influx of parties and late night eating and drinking could spell disaster for your fitness goals!
Don't panic! Here are 5 effective ways to stay fit and strong during the holidays!
1. Revise your schedule
Everything starts with a plan as not planning is definitely planning to fail. Get your notebook and list down all your holiday activities and arrange them in a way that you can squeeze in an hour or two for your fitness routine. It could be something simple as doing a 20 minute HIIT workout in between shopping for gifts and decorating the house or hitting the gym right after office hours and just before a really late Christmas buffet.
When you plan it out make sure you stick to your schedule as much possible. If you find one particular day too tight then make it your official recovery day. Recovery days aren't exactly "cheat" days since muscles need to rest too.
2. Start the day earlier
Most people prefer to get their workout done in the afternoon or after office hours but this could be devastating during the Holiday season as sometimes gyms close earlier or your buddies want to go out somewhere and have a few drinks. Whether you like it or not you're going to have to change your workout time for a few weeks and sometimes it means getting up earlier than usual.
Yes, it's hard to accept that despite the cold weather, and the stronger bond between you and your bed during this time, you really have to exert an extra ounce of willpower to get your workout done and over with as soon as possible. Ending your workouts earlier in the day will give you the freedom to spend the rest of the day doing something else.
3. Skip the iron
Often times the gyms we go to require a few minutes of driving and if you live in a place with plenty of snow this season then expect heavier and slower traffic than usual. If you get stuck behind the wheel instead of the squat rack then you really have accept the fact that you're going to have to spot your gym buddies some other time.
Don't worry about not getting a decent workout since you can definitely take advantage of learning bodyweight exercises right inside your home. There are plenty of bodyweight exercises available at your disposal like push-ups, squats, and burpees not to mention their multiple variations which can sometimes make the exercise require more effort than simply lifting heavy stuff.
4. Train with volume
In conjunction with tip no. 3 you should get your workout fix with plenty of volume. This is especially useful if you're often the type of lifter who just goes for 3 reps per set due to the weight of the barbell or because of a program you're following. You can try to offset the lack of weight on your shoulders by simply training enough to make sure your body misses the single digit reps it's usually fond of.
Training for volume also allows your body to build up endurance and overall stamina which is crucial when you're competing for games that require tons of energy and twice as much lung power. Crossfit games and the Tough Mudder easily come to mind but volume training can also help you go the extra mile with your runs or get one more rep in before failure.
5. Indulge with discipline
We can't avoid eating the food we want to avoid at all times and this fact cannot be more stressed during the Holiday season. Cupcakes, peppermint candies, cookies, milk, chocolate, ham, and lots and lots of other foods our personal trainers cringe on. While this is the season to "let go" it's always better try to put a bit of restraint on yourself. While you can always just pop in a few diet pills for weight loss it would be a lot smarter (and cheaper) to keep the following set of rules in mind:
• Have a little bit of everything but only a little
Feel free to have a bite out of everything just to know what it tastes like. It will also stop you from being tempted to gorge on food uncontrollably.
• Put as much as only one plate can hold
Limit yourself to a single plate and fill it up reasonably so you won't go back for seconds.
• Don't eat foods available throughout the year.
Go for the food that rarely shows itself. Skip brownies, cookies, and candy bars.
• Prioritize vegetables and lean meat
It's important to fill yourself up with proper nutrition before you eat buffers/empty calories.
• Skip the soda, go for water or a bit of red wine instead
Soda has sugar and extra sugar in your diet isn't worth the extra hour at the gym. Red wine is healthy but just don't go overboard. When in doubt water is your friend.
• Remove yourself from the table as soon as you're done
Avoiding the sight of food is the best way to prevent overeating.
• Talk to people
The longer it takes for you to eat the less likely will you eat too much and what better way to kill time than to actually socialize? Talk to the friend you haven't seen in months or catch up on what the squad's been up to while you were busy with work.
The Holiday season is a season of happiness and thanksgiving so do yourself a favor and make sure your body will be happy and thanking you once the season is over.
About The Author:
Food Scientist. Fitness and Health Aficionado. Investor. Writer.
Robert James likes to tell people how to grow their money and how to naturally lose body fat. He’s currently writing about the best naturalsleep aids aside from healthy fruits and will deliver a complete review of natural supplements he’s taken in the future.
He owns a small website catered to his passion to write about health and fitness. His main weapon against weakness is the kettlebell.